After a rough week that featured blowout losses both St Edwards and Cameron University, the Javelinas returned to Kingsville hoping to reclaim first place in the Lone Star Conference from the Angelo State Rams. In order to do that, however, the Hoggies had to stare down the barrel of one of the best pitching staffs in the LSC. The result was a split doubleheader.
The Javelinas put their first runners on in the second inning with a Jimmy Roche one-out walk, followed by a hard hit single by Pablo Hernandez that ricocheted off the glove of the shortstop moving up the middle. Zach Smith knocked in Roche on a similarly hit ball that bounced off the glove of the third baseman and ruled an error.
The name of Angelo State’s game was small ball. They responded with a suicide squeeze sac bunt in the third that brought in Matt Waller.
From there the game seesawed for a bit. A Ruben Almaguer single brought in Wesley Aguilar in the third. Then the Rams put up a two-spot in the fifth with an RBI single and a wild pitch by Preston Plovanich.
The Javelinas finally knocked out Angelo’s ace Bryce Zack in the fifth, defeating him with a proverbial thousand cuts in a seven-run fifth inning. It began with a four-pitch walk to Dalton Perry, followed by a bunt single by Hayden Vesely. From there the game got quickly out of hand for the Rams. Hunter Perkins plated Perry with a single and then Ruben Almaguer reached first when Zack botched the pickup on a sac bunt.
Zack’s outing ended after a four pitch bases loaded walk to Jimmy Roche. The Javelinas continued to pile on for the rest of the inning including a strange RBI bunt single by Zach Smith that dribbled into the outfield grass. Bryce Zack’s final line would be four innings pitched, four hits seven runs, five of them earned, for his worse outing of the year. The Javelinas also walked six times to extend their conference-leading total.
“We spend a lot of time on being disciplined”, Coach Jason Gonzales said, “So it’s good to see that they can take discipline into the game against a good pitcher”
Somewhat lost in the offensive barrage was another quality start by pitcher Preston Plovanich. He spun seven solid frames, spreading three earned runs and eight hits, while striking out three in the complete game 9-3 win
Game two was no less wild, going to 10 innings in a 9-7 Rams win.
Sloppiness played an early factor in the loss for the Javelinas. Shane Veeder threw a wild pitch in the first inning, allowing Elias Aguirre to take third. Catcher Christian Caudle quickly recovered, but overthrew to third bringing Aguirre in for the easy run.
It didn’t take long for the offense to bounce back, however. Dalton Perry took the second pitch he saw and launched it for a solo shot. Hayden Vesely followed up with his 11th double of the year. He would come around to score on a Ruben Almaguer RBI single, his second RBI of the day. Finally Hunter Perkins came in on a double play.
Javelina pitching would get rocked over the next few innings, while the offense went silent. Veeder gave up a two spot in the second before being replaced by Jason Foitek in the third. He too would go two innings, giving up two runs in the fourth. By the seventh inning the Hoggies found themselves down 7-3.
But once again the Javelinas put up a big inning late, this time to tie it at seven. It began with a Christian Caudle leadoff single. Wesley Aguilar moved him over with a walk, setting up Dalton Perry to double down the line for the RBI. Hayden Vesely plated two on an single, and Jimmy Roche knocked Vesely in on a single of his own.
The game would remain tied into extra innings. Finally in the 10th, with reliever Lance Elling on the mound, the Rams came through with a Tyler Coolbaugh RBI single that propelled Angelo State to a 9-7 victory.
“We have some good hitters, they have the ability to score in bunches” Coach Gonzales said, “Unfortunately we go six or seven or eight innings without scoring anything”
With the split, the Javelinas remain a game out of first place in the Lone Star Conference behind the Rams. They’ll have an opportunity to tie first again tomorrow, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Nolan Ryan Field